February was a special month for us. We celebrated our one year family birthday. Looking back on the last year and capturing it is extremely hard to do because it has been so packed with surprises and challenges. This will probably be my longest post ever because there will never be a year like the last one we had. What stands out first is how my children's personalities have slowly taken shape over the last year. When I see pictures of them while they were at the orphanage in Ghana, I look at them and see strangers. Yes they are still my babies but they are such different people than they were then. I now know the intimate details of who they are and what they do.
XAVIER has such a big heart. He loves his family and other people deeply. When he gets money as a gift he LOVES it but he knows, and tells his siblings, the card or person sending it is more important because it's family. When we stand in line to pay for something he tells his parents to let the older person, typically an elderly person, behind you to go in front. He just gets what family and loving others is about. He was recently reading a picture book about adoption and got so excited to tell me that the book reminded him of him and I. The book talked about how a mother wished for her child to come home because she had such a special place in her heart that needed to be filled. X read this to me and smiled, then gave me a huge hug and said, "Mom that is you with me! You wished for me to fill a space in your heart and I did!" I love that I learn about love through my son. Xavier is also my social child. All my kids like to play with others but Xavier makes friends with almost anyone. To add to that he is super goofy and loves joking around with people. Even after weeks of being in the hospital recovering from heart surgery just waiting to come home, he pulled a prank on the doctors. He pulled down part of his hospital gown so his shoulders looked bare, then he pulled the blankets up to his chest so it looked like he didn't have clothes on. When the cardiologist walked in to check on him the doctor asked how he was doing. Xavier said, "I'm so cold in here. It isn't very comfortable." Just as the doctors started telling him to put clothes on and to take care of himself X pulled down the bed sheets and laughed saying, tricked ya!. He got a reputation after that.
X's first bubble bath. I put WAY too much soap in the tub that day. He certainly didn't mind.
SAGE is so jolly. He is genuinely a happy kid who just loves being loved. He reminds me of a toddler that can finally walk and sees mom and dad and just runs into their arms with a smile of pure bliss. Sage will just come to me with his arms raised wanting to be close and then escape once he has had his fill. Sage is also the bravest one of the three. Although he is the youngest he is almost always willing to try something first. He is also my intellectual child and I thoroughly enjoy how smart he is. He has picked up reading and spelling so quickly and has started teaching himself multiplication and division. When family visits he can give them directions around town so they don't get lost. I've recently started playing board games with him that challenge this part of him more. I've recently thought about teaching him chess (and I don't even like it). I think he will quickly surpass any ability I have there...but his dad will be able to challenge him. It's amazing how similar their smartness is.
Sage likes learning about new things. He loves science and asks a lot of questions. He's learned about animals and the world and wants to know more. After a trip we took to Maui he learned about how the island was formed. He came home and is determined to see an active volcano one day.
HAVEN has had the hardest time adjusting and attaching so I feel we have yet to see all of who she really is when she's at peace. One of my favorite times with Haven is when I tuck her into bed because she is calm and more able to just sit still with Paul or I and be her raw self. She is very different than her brothers. She is a little perfectionist and an introvert. She reads constantly for fun. She loves tracing, writing little books and writing letters to people. She is also my little organizer and one way she learns is by mimicking other people. It is really funny how often she copies people and shows you what you or others are doing. Look out because you never know what she has been practicing you do in the mirror! Haven can be very thoughtful. When I'm busy cleaning house she will help vacuum, wash dishes, clean the bathroom...all on her own. I also love that she is a tough girl. She is rough with the boys and when she's determined, she can take them down in a race or wresting...no problem. My kind of girl!
This is a picture Paul took of Haven and I while on a hike in Hana. Haven has moments where she finally gives into the fight within herself. I treasure this moment Paul captured. I was sitting by myself just taking in all that I loved about my surroundings and H walked up behind me, sat down, put her arms around me and was still with me for a long time. My hope for her is that she would find that haven she needs that is shown in this picture.